Why Quincy Isaiah Went to Therapy Before Playing Magic Johnson on Winning Time

Quincy Isaiah, who plays Magic Johnson on HBO's Winning Time, said he went to therapy before production began on the Lakers saga. See why the young actor was inspired to take the step.

By Daniel Trainor Jun 08, 2022 8:17 PMTags
Watch: Kanye West & Chaney Jones Get COZY at Lakers Game

Quincy Isaiah knew a storm was coming his way.

The actor, who made his acting debut as Magic Johnson on HBO's Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, took preemptive measures and went to therapy before production began on the series.

"I knew being on HBO with Adam McKay and playing Magic, a lot of eyeballs were going to be on me," he told The Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actor Roundtable, "so it was like, 'OK, get everything out now and then come back and just be smart about the way you're going to move through the world.'"

Isaiah appeared on the roundtable with esteemed peers Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hilddleston and Brian Cox, who praised the young actor for taking such initiative. 

"That's very smart," Keaton said, while Jackson marveled "I didn't even know that kind of s--t was available. When it happened, it just happened."

How the Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty Cast Compares to Real-Life Counterparts

Isaiah said he was wasn't worried about performing on the job, but everything that would come with it.

"I love to do the work, but I didn't want to have people coming up to me," he said. "Then I started understanding that it's part of the gig and also, people are excited about your work. It's cool. So I just tried to flip my mindset on it."

Isaiah, who didn't even start studying acting until his final year at Michigan's Kalamazoo College in 2017, said he's still struggling with who to trust. 

"I think even with all these meetings and stuff, I know that I'm there because of the work I've done," he said. "Everybody's like, 'They love you. We love you.' They don't know me."

Warrick Page/HBO

When it comes to his next project, Isaiah said he wants to pivot away from the bubbly persona of Magic. 

"Yeah, I can't smile as much this next time," he said. "It's so much smiling."

Hopefully he hasn't totally lost his smile, however, as Winning Time has already been renewed for season two.

Latest News